These are wicked! I call them vegetarian “keftedes” (Cypriot meatballs). They are packed with flavor and some really good stuff, like quinoa, lentils, nuts and feta. If you are vegan maybe there is a substitute for the egg I don’t know about. But you really need it to keep the mixture together, otherwise the patties will fall apart in the pan. I tried baking them, and they came out ok, but on the dry side. But if you absolutely don’t eat anything fried, make sure you drizzle them with olive oil before baking. I shallow fried them in olive oil and they came out GREAT! The yogurt makes a perfect dip for these, but tahini would also be great.
I’m not a vegetarian but I would eat these over meatballs any day.
For the patties
- 1 cup quinoa
- ¾ cup red split lentils
- ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
- ¼ cup coriander, finely chopped
- 2 spring onions, sliced
- 2 Tbs mint, chopped
- ½ cup feta crumbled
- 1/3 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp garam masala (if you are not the person who keeps garam masala in your store cupboard, omit and use 1 tsp cumin and 1 coriander)
- ¼ tsp chilli flakes
- 1 egg
- ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- About ½ cup sesame seeds
- About 1/3 cup olive oil for shallow frying
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- ½ garlic clove, crushed
- ½ Tbs olive oil
- 1 tsp chopped fresh mint
- Salt to taste
Put quinoa and red lentils in a pot and fill with 4 cups of water. Add salt and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, cover the pot and simmer for about 12-14 minutes until quinoa and lentils are cooked. Drain and spread on a large baking tray to cool and stop the cooking process.
Once they are cool put in a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Mix well with your hands (they are the best kitchen gadgets!). Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Cover and put in the fridge for half an hour (if you are short of time, it’s ok to start frying now. The resting time in the fridge helps the mixture become more firm and easier to shape).
Put sesame seeds in a plate. Taking about 2 tablespoons of the mixture in your hands, shape a round patty, about 1 cm thick. Press sesame seeds on both sides. Continue until you shape all the mixture into patties.
Take a frying pan, preferably non stick and add enough olive oil to cover the base. Fry the patties over medium heat, a few at a time, until golden and crisp. Drain on kitchen paper.
To make the yogurt dip, mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Serve patties warm with the dip.